Arnt Gulbrandsen
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Art on this blog

Art was not the purpose of this blog, but I posted a photo of a bridge and liked the result. Whenever I posted something after that, I'd see some art when I proofread what I had just posted. Until the flooded bridge was no longer on the front page and I discovered that I missed it.

So I'm going to post some pure art every year, enough that there usually is something on the front page of the blog, because art is good for the mind. Perhaps that's also why I have a painting, a reproduction, and an abstract photo in my office too, even if I wasn't thinking along those lines when I chose them.

By Friedric Furstenbach:



There's a lot of hair on fire this week...

This blog, like my other websites, does not process your personal data (arguably my personal data constitute an exception). There are no cookies, no comment forms, no login, no third-party plugins or buttons or scripts, nothing, and that's the way I want it. There is a server log file with IP addresses, which I can't remember ever using and have no plans to use, either alone, by combining them with any other personal data, or by giving them to any third party. I don't actually know for how long those IP addresses are kept. Not at the time of writing and certainly not at the time of reading.

Have a nice day. Don't panic.


The qualities of home offices and others

I work at home, and I'm a bit frustrated with that this summer. I'm too remote, and we're not good enough at bridging that gap (half the fault is mine, to be honest). But my ex-colleague Bjørn Borud's latest blog posting makes me feel good again.

My office is suboptimal. I started with a dedicated room and have done as much with that room as I knew how to, and that's a great deal more than most companies are willing to do with their offices. Perhaps an unoptimised home office is no better than the regular kind, perhaps the main difference is that I have optimised my little realm for writing code while Bjørn's office is optimised for easy reorgs and long lines of sight. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I am not reduced to hunting for hotel lobbies where I can work semi-productively.

Said a great politician I don't quite admire: The actual policies are less important than the skill with which they are carried out. There is something to that.


Newfound wealth

I have found fifty-three dollars on my desk. I remember why they're there: 15-20 years ago, someone whose name I have forgotten gave me a dollar to help pay for a haircut and three others then chipped in. Their four dollars have littered my various offices since.

One of the three must've had too much to drink, because now that I look closely, I observe that one bill bears a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant and the number 50. Good. $49 is an appropriate fine for a joke as poor as that one. Justice has been served.



I'm back from having my hair cut. I'm not sure yet whether it was the right thing to do. Time will tell.

48cm and 33g in the Great Cut and another bit while adjusting afterwards.


In Hospital

As chance would have it, my favourite magazine Petits Propos Culinaires published an article on French hospital food in the same week that I went to hospital in Germany. The author was thrilled to receive an emissary from the chef who asked what she liked and what not, and told her that dinner would be soup followed by an omelette, salad and afterwards an apple doughnut.

In the event, the omelette had the consistency of a hard-boiled egg and was wrapped in cling film, etc.

Now I'm in a German hospital, and guess what, food is ordered using ugly machine-readable forms. There are three options for main dish each day, with two options for salad on the side. Today's salads are beef salad and salad with beef. I cannot investigate the difference (I am not not permitted to eat salad), but perhaps that's a feature.

Instead of beefy salads, they serve me pork, potatoes and a sauce apparently made from carrots, flour and monosodium glutamate. The pork yesterday had been butchered twice, that today had also been shredded to hide the evidence.

Fine French menu here, ugly German menu there, the food is the same. I take this to mean that large organisations will grow to act like each other where it matters. Only appearance will differ.


Sitting down to work

This is my answer to so how should the office be, then? and so how does your office look?, both of which are are entirely reasonable things to say to me, particularly this month. If you haven't talked to me about work environments and productivity, this post may be one to skip. (more…)


I should be tidier

I ditched the old laptop bag and got a new one. Much better. The new one is roomier on the inside than outside — and just as dangerous to aircraft security. Things end up in it that I don't know about. During my first two trips with the new bag, I have already brought several dangerous materials undetected through security checkpoints: dangerous liquids (an orange, a large bottle of hair conditioner), a sharp knife and of course something explosive.